It’s no accident that the white cliffs of Dover are on the other side of the English Channel from Etretat. You will see that these cliffs were the subject of the Impressionists. The crescent shaped bay with fairly calm water once made it a thriving fishing village and ultimately a popular seaside resort (again only a train ride away from Paris) in the 19th century. For the Impressionists having subject matter for Plein Air painting (outside on the site) was one thing that drew them, the amazing light which we understand living on the coast as we do, but also the Impressionists were interested in depicting leisure time. This is the perfect setting for that. Now there is no longer a port except for rental boats so the streets are lined with restaurants, hotels, and knick knack shops but all that does not detract from the natural beauty.